The European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy has awarded Amec Foster Wheeler a €70 million contact to deliver the Neutral Beam Cell Remote Handling System for the ITER fusion reactor.

The order represents one of the largest robotics contracts to date in the field of fusion energy.

The remote handling facility will be used to maintain, repair and replace the Neutral Beam injectors, which are used to heat up the plasma inside the ITER reactor until it is hot enough for fusion to take place. It will use a 90m monorail, and will consist of transfer trolleys, beam line transporters and a number of other beams that will operate in co-ordination with tooling and manipulators.

Spanning seven years the contract covers design, manufacturing, factory testing, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests for the remote handling system.

UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler will work with a group of laboratories and companies on the project, including: the Culham Centre for Fusion; the UK’s Fusion National Laboratory; Reel SAS of France; Wallischmiller Engineering GmbH of Germany; Hyde Group of UK, Capula of UK; "KU Leuven-MaGyICs" of Belgium; VTT-the Technical Research Centre of Finland; and the Technical University of Tampere.

"Thanks to this collaboration, leading innovators will be joining forces to deliver high-end engineering for ITER’s maintenance system and will push forward know-how in robotics, a field with many applications," commented F4E acting Director, Pietro Barabaschi.

Photo: Artistic impression of the ITER Neutral Beam Remote Handling system. Copyright: Amec Wheeler Foster